Wounded Warfighters to Climb Denali, North America’s Highest Mountain

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Warfighters on expedition climbing the world’s “Seven Summits” as part of Disabled Sports USA 50th anniversary serving wounded warfighters and civilians with disabilities.

This climb has fired me up and I cannot imagine anything more motivating than summiting Denali with fellow wounded veterans,” U.S. Army National Guard Warrant Officer, 1st Class Pete Linkroum

Disabled Sports USA (DSUSA), one of the nation's largest sport organizations for people with disabilities, announced its Team Warfighter Sports' climb of Mount McKinley “Denali” in Alaska in celebration of its 50th anniversary. Denali is the highest mountain in North America at 20,320 feet and is the third highest of the Seven Summits as well as one of the coldest in the world. Denali is considered among the world’s most dangerous mountain climbs due to the severe weather and terrain.

The expedition is set to begin May 6 and conclude by May 31. The expedition to climb one of the world’s “Seven Summits” exemplifies the challenges wounded warfighters, their families, and others with disabilities face going through hospitalization and rehabilitation after a severe injury. Team Warfighter Sports will test their limits, stamina, and endurance while raising awareness of the abilities of our nation’s wounded warfighters.

American International Group, Inc. (AIG), Willis Towers Watson, and Air Warrior Courage Foundation have generously sponsored the wounded warfighters on this climb.

The team includes three wounded warfighters: U.S. Army National Guard Warrant Officer, 1st Class William “Pete” Linkroum, 39, resident of Baltimore, MD, served for 14 years and was on his second deployment in Afghanistan in 2009, as a Special Forces medic with the Army, when he and his team came under enemy fire. A rocket propelled grenade hit the vehicle he was driving resulting in radial nerve palsy, burns, and shrapnel damage to his arm along with some hearing loss; U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Paul Andrew, 45, resident of Jamul, CA, served in the Marines for seven years and sustained multiple injuries while on active duty, including permanent lung damage due to a dangerous chemical compound, damage to his vertebrae when an armored hatch closed down on his head when a lock failed and damage to his right knee from an injury while in Okinawa, resulting in use of a casted brace for full mobility; U.S. Navy Petty Officer, 1st Class Jason Aldine, 34, resident of Boston, MA, tackled a rocket propelled grenade during deployment to Afghanistan in 2009, which resulted in a penetrating traumatic brain injury, retained intra-cranial shrapnel and facial reconstruction.

“I am very thankful for this opportunity to be a part of Team Warfighter Sports Denali Challenge. Since I left the military, I’ve had a hard time finding the motivation to work out and train with the same intensity as I did while in the service. This climb has fired me up and I cannot imagine anything more motivating than summiting Denali with fellow wounded veterans,” U.S. Army National Guard Warrant Officer, 1st Class Pete Linkroum said. “While the lingering effects of my injuries may be invisible to many, programs like Warfighter Sports are vital to keep me active and motivated. I know many injured veterans who have been severely affected by their injuries and benefit from these programs too.” Pete was a special operations medic for most of his military career. Today, he continues to help people as a civilian, now as an oncology and critical care practicing nurse at Johns Hopkins University.

"Many disabled veterans are seeking out opportunities to test their limits, as they did when they served in the military," said Kirk Bauer, J.D., executive director of Disabled Sports USA and a disabled Vietnam veteran. "This climb allows these wounded warfighters to challenge themselves while inspiring others to become active and reach their goals and dreams." In 2010, Bauer led a successful all-amputee wounded warrior team up Mt. Kilimanjaro.

The Warfighter Sports Denali climb supports Warfighter Sports, a program of Disabled Sports USA, an organization that has served severely wounded warfighters since 1967. For 50 years, Warfighter Sports has offered free sports rehabilitation for severely wounded warfighters in military hospitals and communities across the U.S. Over 12,000 wounded warfighters and families have been served since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began. Warfighter Sports rebuilds lives through sports by improving self-confidence, promoting independence, and uniting families through shared healthy activities.

The Denali expedition will be guided by Mountain Trip. Follow Team Warfighter Sports' progress, view photos, and support the team at: http://www.warfightersportsdenalichallenge2017.org.

About Warfighter Sports
Warfighter Sports, a program of Disabled Sports USA, offers sports rehabilitation for wounded warriors with permanent physical disabilities in military hospitals and communities across the U.S. in partnership with a nationwide network of over 120 community-based chapters. Since 1967, Disabled Sports USA has proudly served wounded warriors, including those injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, offering over 50 winter and summer sports at more than 100 events each year. Warfighter Sports rebuilds lives through sports by improving self-confidence, promoting independence and uniting families through shared healthy activities.

Contributions cover all expenses for participation of the warrior and a family member, including individualized adaptive instruction, adaptive sports equipment, transportation, lodging and meals. Since 2003, more than 12,000 of the most severely wounded and their families have been served, including those with amputations, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, visual impairments, and significant nerve and muscle damage. For more information, visit http://www.warfightersports.org

About AIG

American International Group, Inc. (AIG) is a leading global insurance organization. Founded in 1919, today AIG member companies provide a wide range of property casualty insurance, life insurance, retirement products, and other financial services to customers in more than 80 countries and jurisdictions. These diverse offerings include products and services that help businesses and individuals protect their assets, manage risks and provide for retirement security. AIG’s core businesses include Commercial Insurance and Consumer Insurance, as well as Other Operations. Commercial Insurance comprises two modules – Liability and Financial Lines, and Property and Special Risks. Consumer Insurance comprises four modules – Individual Retirement, Group Retirement, Life Insurance and Personal Insurance. AIG common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Additional information about AIG can be found at http://www.aig.com and http://www.aig.com/strategyupdate | YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/aig | Twitter: @AIGinsurance | LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/aig. These references with additional information about AIG have been provided as a convenience, and the information contained on such websites is not incorporated by reference into this press release.

AIG is the marketing name for the worldwide property-casualty, life and retirement, and general insurance operations of American International Group, Inc. For additional information, please visit our website at http://www.aig.com. All products and services are written or provided by subsidiaries or affiliates of American International Group, Inc. Products or services may not be available in all countries, and coverage is subject to actual policy language. Non-insurance products and services may be provided by independent third parties. Certain property-casualty coverages may be provided by a surplus lines insurer. Surplus lines insurers do not generally participate in state guaranty funds, and insureds are therefore not protected by such funds.

About Willis Towers Watson
Willis Towers Watson is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 40,000 employees serving more than 140 countries. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential. Learn more at http://www.willistowerswatson.com.

About Air Warrior Courage Foundation
Air Warrior Courage Foundation was formed by military aviators to “care for our own.” We work closely with the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association to do that. We focus on active duty, guard, reserve and retired military personnel and their families needing financial assistance for medical, educational, and other extraordinary expenses not covered by other military, veterans’, or charitable institutions. Learn more at http://airwarriorcourage.com/.

Huayra Gomez Garcia: (240) 268-0864 or e-mail: hgomezgarcia(at)dsusa(dot)org

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